Knicks Morning News (2023.02.22)

  • Knicks Land Nets’ Dorian Finney-Smith In Bold Trade Scenario – NBA Analysis Network
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 9:58:46 PM

    Knicks Land Nets’ Dorian Finney-Smith In Bold Trade Scenario  NBA Analysis Network

  • What’s behind improvement of Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley – New York Post
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 8:41:00 PM

    What’s behind improvement of Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley  New York Post

  • Knicks – Wizards Prediction, Trends and Betting Odds ? Friday … –
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 7:01:17 PM

    Knicks – Wizards Prediction, Trends and Betting Odds ? Friday …

  • Hawks fire Nate McMillan with team stuck in 8th in East – WDIV ClickOnDetroit
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 6:05:21 PM

    Hawks fire Nate McMillan with team stuck in 8th in East  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

  • NBA Rumors: Which players are left for Knicks to sign in buyout market? – Daily Knicks
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 5:00:00 PM

    NBA Rumors: Which players are left for Knicks to sign in buyout market?  Daily Knicks

  • Former New York Coach Blasts NBA, Players for ‘Worst Basketball … – WTMM 104.5 The Team – ESPN Radio
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 4:30:40 PM

    Former New York Coach Blasts NBA, Players for ‘Worst Basketball …  WTMM 104.5 The Team – ESPN Radio

  • Hart-breaker? Knicks’ Newcomer Labeled Biggest ‘Flight Risk’ – Sports Illustrated
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 4:07:06 PM

    Hart-breaker? Knicks’ Newcomer Labeled Biggest ‘Flight Risk’  Sports Illustrated

  • Knicks take positive outlook into challenging stretch drive – Newsday
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 2:20:53 PM

    Knicks take positive outlook into challenging stretch drive  Newsday

  • February P&T mailbag invite – Posting and Toasting
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 2:12:51 PM

    February P&T mailbag invite  Posting and Toasting

  • NBA futures odds: Will the Knicks make the playoffs and win 44 games? –
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 2:11:00 PM

    NBA futures odds: Will the Knicks make the playoffs and win 44 games?

  • Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks odds, tips and betting … – USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 1:11:07 PM

    Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks odds, tips and betting …  USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire

  • Knicks’ Jericho Sims has classic response to Slam Dunk haters – Daily Knicks
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 12:00:00 PM

    Knicks’ Jericho Sims has classic response to Slam Dunk haters  Daily Knicks

  • Nets give coach Jacque Vaughn multiyear contract extension – WJXT News4JAX
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 10:58:17 AM

    Nets give coach Jacque Vaughn multiyear contract extension  WJXT News4JAX

  • The worst team in NBA history doesn’t want to be forgotten – The Washington Post
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 10:55:00 AM

    The worst team in NBA history doesn’t want to be forgotten  The Washington Post

  • The Knicks are no longer linked to big-name point guards on the buyout market. It’s a great thing – Posting and Toasting
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 10:38:18 AM

    The Knicks are no longer linked to big-name point guards on the buyout market. It’s a great thing  Posting and Toasting

  • RJ Barrett questions hang over Knicks’ playoff push – New York Post
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 10:31:00 AM

    RJ Barrett questions hang over Knicks’ playoff push  New York Post

  • NBA Power Rankings: Celtics lead pack at All-Star break; Knicks make top 10; Lakers and Warriors disappoint – CBS Sports
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 10:08:00 AM

    NBA Power Rankings: Celtics lead pack at All-Star break; Knicks make top 10; Lakers and Warriors disappoint  CBS Sports

  • New York Knicks reportedly could sell a portion of team to unexpected buyer – Sportsnaut
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 8:46:05 AM

    New York Knicks reportedly could sell a portion of team to unexpected buyer  Sportsnaut

  • Roster Moves Required Soon For Knicks, Hornets, Rockets, Jazz –
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 8:34:00 AM

    Roster Moves Required Soon For Knicks, Hornets, Rockets, Jazz

  • Predicting where Knicks will finish in standings to close out season – Daily Knicks
    [] — Tuesday, February 21, 2023 8:00:00 AM

    Predicting where Knicks will finish in standings to close out season  Daily Knicks

  • 91 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2023.02.22)”

    Macri newsletter looks ahead to the summer and stars the Knicks could realistically trade for. His conclusion: it’s really only KAT and LaVine. No freaking thank you. If that’s the case, hopefully Leon keeps his powder dry and focuses on improvements around the edges.

    Ehi look, Trae Young screwed another (not so good) coach!*

    I awoke from the boring, dumb, hated, attention destroyer, ASG weekend** to peek at the blog and what did I find?

    Zach LaVine’s knees? KAT’s Cowardly Lion impersonation? The ghost of Will Barton? Really?

    Can’t we just watch what “this” team is able to do now that the marbles are finally still until the summer?

    A lot of things can happen in the meantime and we already have some playing-time distribution issues, let’s give that 15th spot to someone who’s happy to warm the bench (where’s Ryan Arcidiacono when you need him?).

    I retreat in my cave until a meaningful game happens…

    If the Hawks get Snyder or Atkinson I’m gonna throw up…

    Fresh from the trade deadline, with the fans burning to watch the new players and the new lineups, the best thing the League was able to do was… stop the games for a week to bore us to death with kid gimmicks and the ugliest advertising game you’ll ever see? Good job Adam…

    Looks like we have to make a move today to get to 14 players on the roster.

    The Knicks had a full 15-man roster heading into trade deadline day, but they sent out three players – Cam Reddish, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Svi Mykhailiuk – in the multi-team deal that landed Josh Hart in New York.
    As a result, the Knicks have been carrying just 13 players on standard contracts since February 9 and will have until this Thursday to add at least one player to their roster. Two-way player DaQuan Jeffries has been mentioned as a candidate for a possible promotion.

    Towns and Randle are, incredibly, more or less the same guy at this point. Towns has more upside-he’s generally been better than Randle and has reached higher peaks, but he gets hurt a lot and he’s got a longer, more expensive contract.

    Thinking about Nate McMillan, I realized one thing about the Knicks has not changed. Getting blown out by the Knicks is very bad for your coaching career.

    Cyber, I thought minimum roster size was 13 and there was no deadline at all for adding players.

    But you can build a functional defense with Randle at PF if he’s giving effort. Whereas Towns is an absolute zero on that end in his career.

    It’s 14, Bernie. That’s why you’ve seen so many teams promoting G Leaguers the last few days.

    As I said before, They are unlikely to add a player until tomorrow so that they stay out of the luxury tax.

    “…but he gets hurt a lot and he’s got a longer, more expensive contract.”

    Towns doesn’t really get hurt a lot. He had a serious calf injury this year and major health and family health issues related to the pandemic, but he’s been pretty healthy beyond that.

    I don’t want him on anything close to a max contract under any circumstances, but not because of injury concerns.

    Thinking about Nate McMillan, I realized one thing about the Knicks has not changed. Getting blown out by the Knicks is very bad for your coaching career.

    Knick fan, I don’t know if you were alluding to this, but the other time Nate got fired in mid-season was March 15, 2012…after a 121-79 loss to the Knicks.

    One thing I feel fairly confident in is that our FO (i.e. Aller) has a pretty good handle on the cap and roster situation. So as far as tinkering with the 14th roster spot, whatever.

    I’m visiting my college kid in the *balmy* North Country of NY this weekend and will likely miss both games, which really sucks. But I WILL get to see some high-level college hockey, so there’s that!

    BernieErnie, that’s a fascinating fact I didn’t remember. I just remembered that it’s happened before that a coach has been fired after losing to the Knicks.

    I’d say 43.5. We have 22 games left and a tough SOS for that stretch. I think we go about .500.

    I’d definitely take the over at 43.5 but it seems like a fair number…

    As to why, I just think that Thibs has the team in a good place. They have had both an elite offense and an elite defense during stretches this year, and seem to have gelled lately. Now with Mitch back they might just go on a run

    >What would be a good o/u for the Knicks’ final win total? 45.5?<

    That was the latest line I saw, but I think we have a chance of exceeding it. So far we've played above .550 ball this season (12 more wins). IMO the addition of Hart and getting Mitch back are worth more than the fact that we have a tougher than average schedule remaining. I could see us going 13-9 or even 14-8 if Mitch gets sharp quickly and we keep playing like this.

    Maybe I'm overrating us a bit, but I feel like Josh Hart has solidified the 2nd unit. I like Deuce, but Hart is a solid upgrade in that unit. I also think he's a big upgrade over RJ closing IF (big IF) Thibs has the courage to keep RJ on the bench down the stretch of tough ones.

    I think it's also now apparent our defense is not the same without Mitch. So getting him back could give us a huge boost on that side, especially with Hart closing also. The one issue I see here is that it might take Mitch a few games to get back in top form.

    Zach Lavine body language just doesn’t convey intensity. He was funny on that Sonic commercial though. Today’s Knicks don’t do it. He reminds me of the Steve Francis, situation. It was like, “Oh wow, Steve Francis” before I realized that he was playing on one leg. Plus we already had essentially the same player in Marbury. Good times…

    Knick fans deserve nice things but my preference is to keep a team identity. We have kids we drafted and veterans that have a chance to be remembered as Knicks. Julius, now Hart, Hartenstein, even Brunson. Their other teams were a preamble to this, or might be seen that way when the Cinderella story ends with a heroic run to the second round of the playoffs, lol. I’m not against bringing in someone bona fide. But bringing in Zach Lavine and hoping he’ll be Kawhi Leonard is the road to perdition.

    Yeah if our trading for a star options are Lavine or KAT, then I say hard pass.

    Just keep what we have and add more Josh Hart like players to the roster and build the next 2004 Pistons squad. I don’t consider Lavine or KAT to be stars. Neither of them has achieved jackshit in this league.

    Besides, we have no idea what will happen after the playoffs or next season. For all we know Kyrie will destroy the Mavs and Doncic will request a trade this summer. Jaylen Brown may want to leave Boston after next season. Shai could get tired of his current situation. Same with Embiid.

    Hell, Giannis is probably a career buck but his supporting cast is getting older. Will he want to go somewhere else in a few seasons?

    Randle is 28 but Brunson is 26. So maybe the move is to just build what we got and in 2 or 3 seasons, we switch out Randle for someone else (Jokic, Giannis, etc.). With Brunson and the rest of the young players we potentially have a window of being a good playoff team for the next 4 to 6 seasons.

    “A good win total would be 44.”

    As a betting line or as a take on the season?

    If you were to think back to preseason odds, I would agree. However, at 33-27 with winning 5 of our last 6 w/o Mitch heading into the break, going 11-11 in our last 22 would be disappointing regardless of the SOS. Most pundits are calling us a top-10-12ish team, so at a minimum I think 12-10 is a fair expectation, i.e. 45 wins.

    CLE could pull the trigger on Donovan because they thought they had their starters for the next five years at the other positions.

    So, who are the four guys for us if you traded everyone else and the next five drafts? If you could keep Randle, Brunson, IQ and Grimes would you literally give up everything else? For Giannis? (Hell yes) For Lillard? (Yes?) For Jaylen Brown? (um) Slippery slope…

    A lot of our remaining games look winnable:

    Wizards – W
    Pelicans – W (Zion looks like he’s out)
    Celtics – L
    Nets – W
    Heat – W
    Celtics – L
    Hornets – W
    Kings – Even
    Clippers – L (Health?)
    Lakers – Even?
    Blazers – W
    Nuggets – L
    TWolves – W
    Heat – W
    Cavs – L
    Wizards – W
    Pacers – W
    Pelicans – L (Zion back)
    Pacers – W

    I am not as anti-LaVine as the consensus. To be clear, I am assuming his trade price would account for his very serious injury concerns and his contract. If it doesn’t, I’m all the way out for obvious reasons.

    But we’re talking about one of the better high volume scorers in the game. He’s posted TS+s of 111 and 107 on 24-27 PPG. There might be a single-digit number of guys in the NBA who can do that. We’ll have to see where he winds up this year but after a slow start he’s already pushing for a .600 TS% again.

    For all of the very valid injury concerns, he’s played 55/59 games this year coming off offseason knee surgery.

    The downsides are almost too obvious to list, so again I’ll emphasize that I am assuming we wouldn’t be paying retail for a scorer like him. I also realize we need two-way players more than one-way offensive dynamos, but with a healthy LaVine we might be able to push for the best offense in the whole god damn NBA and I see no reason to think our defense would totally collapse.

    Like most transactions, I think there’s a price that makes sense. I doubt the Bulls and I agree on what it is, but we’d be derelict to not explore the possibility.

    Looks like we have to make a move today tomorrow to get to 14 players on the roster.

    Somehow i thought today was thursday. Better grab another coffee. 😀

    The Bulls are 9th in defense this year. It’s actually their offense that sucks.

    Either Lavine isn’t as bad as his reputation or Caruso really just is the best defender in the league by a mile (I mean, he honestly might be).

    Anyone who watched the Bulls recently have an opinion on Lavine’s defense?


    On the flipside, every advanced metric says Jaylen Brown is overrated. Very good player, but still overrated. Could be a system thing.

    Fwiw, LaVine has played 44 more games the last 3 seasons than OG.

    He’s played 8 more games than Jaylen Brown in that same time span.

    So we are going to have a crunchtime defense, when it really counts, consisting of Brunson, Lavine, Randle, Mitch and Hart?

    It’s not awful but I don’t see us getting all the stops we will need.

    I am certainly willing to listen to arguments that LaVine isn’t as detrimental of a player as he currently is in my mind, but let’s remember that he is locked in for around double of what Jalen Brunson makes for the next 4 years. There are very few players I would feel comfortable having on our cap sheet for a guaranteed $49M in 2026-27, and Zach LaVine is far from being one of them. I mean, he’s never had a season significantly better than Randle or Brunson are having this year, and I wouldn’t want either of them at anything close to that number…and they don’t have arthritic knees.

    As to Jaylen Brown, it would be literally insane to consider LaVine over him at similar money. In my opinion, Brown is very underrated by advanced stats, primarily because of his shot creation and defensive effectiveness. He is an exceptional 2-way wing, and is a truly dominant player as big 2. He’s a huge reason for the playoff success that the Celtics have had since he’s been there. Doesn’t mean I’d pay Jokic money for him, but would way rather overpay for him than Zach LaVine.

    There is a ton of tail wind on this 22 game journey…

    Mitch coming back, addition of jHart, Grimes, Obi and RJ getting back from their slump, iHart’s healed achilies tendon, Brunson playing with a chip, Randle’s playoff redemption, etc..

    Each one of these is a small plus in itself but combined they’re not far from materially moving the proverbial needle.

    It’s not far from a baseline probability scenario that Knicks finish 16:6, grab the 5 seed and make a Cindarella playoff run…

    As a somewhat Zach LaVine defender, I feel obligated to say I think you guys are missing the context.

    One of the biggest issues this team has going forward is that starting next season, we’ll be paying RJ Barrett around 25 million to be a -3 BPM player with a .520 ts%. Trading for LaVine, for me, would be as much about getting LaVine as it would be about getting rid of RJ while he still has some value.

    If you replace RJ’s .529 ts% on 25.9% usage with LaVine’s .591 ts% on 27.8% usage, this team is a much better team right away. I know he’s a bad defender, but so is RJ right now, so that’s a wash. So is Donovan Mitchell, and he’s playing on the best defense by rating in the league right now while still being awful. (And as EB mentioned LaVine is on the 7th best defensive rating team in the NBA right now with the Bulls, while playing with Vucevic and DeRozan who are both awful defenders, and no, Caruso by himself doesn’t make a 7th best rated defense)

    If the trade looks something like RJ + Grimes + Obi + 2 1sts for LaVine I’m taking it on the spot, no question about it, just immediately accept it. If it’s more expensive, then of course I’ll probably say no.

    If you’re against LaVine because you think we can somehow get better players like Jaylen Brown or Mikal Bridges for example, I’m fine with the argument. But if you ask me whether I want LaVine at the price I mentioned or Anunoby for the same players + 3 firsts, I’m taking LaVine.

    Re: Beal, Lavine, Kat etc…

    Think Leon’s next move is going to be critical. Has to get it right in order to avoid treadmil or even quick sand territory.

    Beal, Lavine, KAT, (salary) and OG (3 picks +salary) are perfect purgatory team players. Beal, Lavine and Kat created this purgatory team ceiling in their current situations.

    We need an elite (not average) top five 3&D wing with length and dawg mentality to guard Giannis and Tatum in a 7 game series. No comprimizes at this time. No building blocks. Its the final peice.

    Yeah, Bruno, I was going to say something similar. We wouldn’t just be adding LaVine in a vacuum, we’d be removing a black hole, zero-way player and replacing him with a one-way player who is at least good at something that’s pretty important. The criticisms of LaVine are legitimate but the guy can throw the ball into the basket. He’s pretty consistently a .600 TS%, 30 USG guy.

    What we really need is a two-way player to replace our zero-way player, but those guys are rare.

    I wouldn’t trade Grimes for LaVine straight up.

    As to RJ, I’d rather take the risk that he will stabilize in a “reasonably good but overpaid” range than trade him in a deal for a potentially much worse contract. If we want to dump RJ, which I think would be as shortsighted as the idea dumping Randle was last summer, it would be for a much less risky return than LaVine, and under no circumstances would I include Grimes, IQ, or unprotected 1sts for LaVine even without RJ. That would be classic Isiah Thomas/Phil Jackson/Steve Mills bidding against ourselves negotiating.

    Even as a UFA, LaVine would give me bad H20/Amar’e PTSD.

    About Lavine, KAT, and other possible upgrades for our team, first i have to see how we look in the playoffs. Last time we looked this good (2020-21) we thought we were one move away from being really good (replacing Elfrid with a good PG) and the playoffs showed us that was not the case.

    Somehow i thought today was thursday. Better grab another coffee. 😀

    i kind of like the feeling of getting disconnected from the calendar and clock, losing track of the days…it’s a good feeling…

    you’re a 1,000 percent right about the dog…man, what a blessing…helps me be in the moment and slow down a lot…

    therapist strongly recommended for me to not retreat to the bed to do my work…the therapist though doesn’t pay my bills…

    i don’t know, in my head the only time you should be eating or working in bed is if there’s something physically wrong with you…which i guess there is…

    next meeting from bed in 5 🙂

    “If we want to dump RJ, which I think would be as shortsighted as the idea dumping Randle was last summer, it would be for a much less risky return than LaVine, and under no circumstances would I include Grimes, IQ, or unprotected 1sts for LaVine even without RJ. That would be classic Isiah Thomas/Phil Jackson/Steve Mills bidding against ourselves negotiating.”

    How would trading RJ for one of the *best scorers in the NBA* constitute “dumping” him? Based on RJ’s career to date, there is virtually zero chance he ever becomes as good as Zach LaVine. I accordingly don’t see how trading him for Zach LaVine, a vastly superior player, would be “dumping” him.

    As for bidding against ourselves, we shouldn’t do that! We should see what the best offer out there is for LaVine and determine if we’re comfortable topping it by a bit. Seems easy enough.

    I’m not even gung ho about this idea, but if you reject it out of hand you must be extremely confident we’ll have the opportunity to acquire a better player at a doable price within the next few years. That’s totally possible, but the case for its inevitability is being overstated.

    A reasonable trade for LaVine could make us a conference finalist. Are you all really ready to turn your noses at that because you’re positive we can do better?

    Cyber, I hear you and I agree that playoffs will reveal the character of these kids. But that team was comprised of a young MIP Randle and veterans playing on contract years. Our two best players in the Atlanta series were Taj and Rose. This team is very different in a good way.

    TNFH, – fully understand and appreciate your bird in hand logic but I’m not sure that a healthy Lavine get us to conference finals like you are.

    He’s obviously an upgrade over RJ on offensive side but thats not our need now. With a current 6th ranked offense, we have two players who generate offense for themselves and others with a swiss army kid who does it in spots now. IQ will increase his usage in the years to come. Lavine will sufficate him.

    I just dont think we need what a healthy best case scenario of either Lavine/Beal/Kat offer in order to beat either Boston or Milwaukee and get to conference finals. I’m referring to their game (portfolio of skills). If you add their lack of leadership and winning mentality than its condiserably worse.

    after reading this thread the only thing i know for sure i would trade for zach ‘i must be a decent defender because my team is 13th in defensive rating when i play’ lavine is my knickerblogger stock

    I’m sorry Z-Man, I know we’ve been friendly lately but not trading Grimes for LaVine straight up is one of the wildest things I’ve read here in a long, long time. I know we tend to overrate our young players and Grimes is a likeable dude who plays hard and defends, but this is not even a consideration. LaVine is one of the best scorers in the entire league and guys like Grimes get tacked onto trades all the time, it’s no question.

    I don’t love LaVine, I don’t think he makes the Knicks contenders, but if the idea is to build through getting better incrementally, he’s a guy you have to look at if the price is right. Like I’ve said before, it’s all about the price and I think you and other people are vastly overreacting to his contract numbers.

    The Warriors have shown us, by rolling Durant’s contract into Russell and then Wiggins that having a big contract on the books when you’re already going to be capped out no matter what is not a bad thing, and we are going to be capped out or very close to it no matter what with Randle + Brunson + Barrett + Mitch + Fournier + whatever Hart gets re-signed for if he does.

    LaVine won’t suddenly become untradeable and an albatross the moment he comes to the Knicks, just like Wiggins wasn’t, just like Russell wasn’t for two straight stops now in his career, etc. Unless the absolute worst happens and he blows his knee Amare style, he’ll still retain some value as an asset at the very least.

    Again, I’m making this very clear, if someone is against the move because they think we can target better players, I’m all for it, there are better players we should be pursuing before LaVine. But we don’t have to somehow pretend the guy is a total bum and a horrible player when that’s simply not the case at all.

    You know, one of the joys, and one of the pains, of this site is following the excellent arguments on opposite sides of a topic. It’s a bit like those scenes where there’s a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.

    The pain is the cognitive dissonance of being yanked from what seems like one perfectly legitimate perspective to the opposite.

    But have at it. I’d be happiest running with what we have for the rest of the season, although I think I’m also one of the more conservative members here (which speaking of cognitive dissonance may be about the only case of being or behaving conservatively in any aspect of my life).

    Partly it’s that nearly the entire team is so root-able. I even root for RJ to turn it around (although he peeves me). There’s definitely times when I’ve found the majority of players on this team to vary from null sets to highly dislikeable. So it’s a great breath of fresh air.

    I mean, when was the last time the Knicks got a mid-season vet acquisition that immediately vaulted to near the top of the list for fun?

    I’m mainly out on LaVine due to concerns about his knee, and secondly about a bad match with our current roster and coach where defense is physically demanding and load management is eschewed. I have great confidence in Grimes being the more effective overall starting 2 at a much lower cost.

    I am also not sold on LaVine as one of the best scorers in the NBA. He’s a career 38% 3-pt shooter, lower if you discount the notorious empty arenas year. His 0.9 BPM continues the declining trend from his empty arena season. And he’s never had a positive DBPM. Combing him, Brunson and Randle under Thibs is asking for trouble.

    I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t be terrified by the thought of owing him a third of our cap space in 2026-27.

    Bruno, just to clarify, I’m weighing rootability, contract, and injury concerns into the equation of LaVine vs. Grimes. To me, Grimes is far more consistent with the direction I believe we should take.

    As to TNFH’s question, yes, yes, 1000 times yes, I am VERY confident that there will be deals that have a better chance of making us a conference finalist than acquiring Zach LaVine. In fact, I think there is MORE chance that acquiring LaVine is the reason we top out as second round exits for the length of his contract than not.

    Fun Vorkunov piece in the Athletic about his choices for Most Fun Team. He had Brunson as the backcourt mate to Ja, and had this to say:

    “Brunson runs the point like he’s driving in New York City. It’s all quick decisions, starts and stops and veering in and out of lanes. He accelerates then decelerates before blowing right by. He drives to the lane like he’s avoiding double-parked cars and slow-going tourists unsure when they should cross the street. His footwork is amazing to watch, especially in person. Every step is calculated and ferocious. It’s like he grew up watching Kevin McHale mixtapes but stretched it out to the perimeter. It’s all so beautiful.”

    Put another way, if LaVine was a UFA this off-season and we could create enough cap space by using a couple of unprotected firsts in trading say RJ, Grimes, and Fournier to sign him for 4 Years/$180M, would you be happy with that transaction?

    I’d be mortified.

    If you do get LaVine, then you need to get him at a discount. You also need to go get OG or Mikal with 4 or 5 picks or whatever else you have leftover. Otherwise, yeah, the defense won’t be good.

    I think the right course of action would still be to pass on LaVine. I’d rather bet on OG breaking out.

    My question with LaVine was never “is he a good defender”, it’s “has he gone from godawful to tolerable.” I don’t watch the Bulls so I don’t know, the advanced stats say so, most likely it’s other players covering for him.

    Last year, with fans in the building, LaVine was in the 96th percentile for usage and the 85th percentile in points per shot attempt among wings. That’s what one of the best scorers in the NBA looks like.

    This year he’s at 94th and 76th accordingly, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him match or exceed last year’s production when all is said and done. He got off to a bad start, but has a TS% of .616 while scoring 25.3 PPG since December.

    I will repeat that because of the contract and injury concerns, I wouldn’t pay anywhere close to what a scorer of LaVine’s caliber usually fetches. But if it’s RJ and some nominal assets? Yeah, I think I’d do that.

    I mean, RJ’s contract seems at least as likely to age poorly as LaVine’s. LaVine has at least answered the “is he good” question.

    For that reason this is probably all moot anyway–if the Bulls are looking to move off LaVine they probably don’t want to take arguably worse money back.

    “I mean, RJ’s contract seems at least as likely to age poorly as LaVine’s. LaVine has at least answered the “is he good” question.”

    That’s where we part ways in terms of this discussion. While RJ is a sunk cost at this point, 1) he is still only 22…younger than some players are when they are drafted…and has shown extended periods, i.e. 20+ games of very good to excellent play; 2) he is bigger, stronger and more versatile on the defensive end…I’m going to trust Thibs on this one; 3) he is making a fraction of what LaVine is making; 4) he has no long-term injury concerns…in fact, he’s been incredibly durable for a guy who plays as many minutes as he has since he was 19, and 5) you have to factor in the cost of the assets it would take to get LaVine…one of them being Grimes, who might turn out to be a better (albeit lower usage) player on both ends than LaVine at a much lower cost.

    A one-way offensive player on a near max contract with a gimpy knee whose explosive athleticism is a critical part of what makes him good on a team that already has two high-usage relatively efficient shot creators with defensive concerns is a terrible use of resources, especially if it comes at the cost of two young players and two unprotected picks (good luck trying to get him for less than that.)

    I’d much rather bet on RJ and take the L on his 4 year/$108M deal being dumpable in two years than risk everything on LaVine. While I respect the logic of thinking otherwise, I wholeheartedly feel confident that I am right on this one.

    Lavine, even this years version, is significantly better than RJ, but he’s also much more expensive and probably a serious risk to miss a lot more games.

    If we had Lavine instead of RJ we’re what, a 48-50 win team instead of a 43-45 win team? That’s a real difference but probably not worth the money & risk especially if we’re giving up stuff to get him. There would still be 3 or 4 teams in the east alone I’d favor over that team in a playoff series.

    I really dont think LaVine will be cheap by any means. Our best shot is to trade RJ for a contributor at the 3 while keeping the rest of the team intact, and Chicago will ask for Quickley, Grimes, Hartenstein on top of whatever we can offer in terms of picks. You have to be really sure that he is going to be healthy to make that trade.

    If he is not going to cost us in terms of current players? Then, sure, it may be worth the gamble, it is not a given that we land a Paul George / Mikal Bridges / OG. But I think the price will be higher than that.

    If there was a workable plan to upgrade from RJ to Lavine and then from Randle to (just for argument) to Luka or something like that, sure. We’ll get Zach now and then superstar X in 2 years makes some sense but that injury risk seems too much. As much as I didn’t like adding Melo back in the day it was really the Amare contract that torpedoed that team.

    I’m just happy we haven’t made a trade yet. I’m happy watching IQ sizzle. Grimes has been impressive. He was one of the best players in the rising stars game fwiw. I’m glad to not be watching Obi dunk in transition for another team. I’m happy to give RJ another season or two to see what he has. Last year we thought Randle was cooked. Look how far we’ve come. We’re six over. There are good arguments that staying with this squad makes us a force in the next few seasons. Plus we have extra draft picks and a decent cap situation. Patience has never been a hallmark of NYK but that seems to be changing.

    Mitchell Robinson was back at practice today – full contact. “He was cleared for contact. It’s his first day back so we’ll see how he feels. He’s got to to go step by step. This is the next step – go from practice, take contact, do everything and see how he feels tomorrow.”

    The point about my “defense” of LaVine is the same point in a way that people were doing with Mitchell in the offseason: if not him, then who?

    I understand the concerns you all have about him and they’re frankly very valid, but simply staying put and not making moves is risky on its own. There’s no guarantee we are in a consistently better position now than we were when we got to the playoffs last time, and we know what happened the season after. If a team is committed to slowly getting better without rebuilding, they’ve got to keep trying to upgrade. Just staying put and hoping a magical deal for a great player comes up, or hoping youngsters like RJ simply get better can be a losing proposition due to how much risk is involved.

    Again, if you don’t want Mitchell or LaVine because you think there’s a real chance we can get Brown, Leonard, Anunoby or Bridges, that’s fine, I can agree to that. I’d rather have those guys too. But now that RJ is no longer on a rookie contract, simply keeping him is a risky proposition: he has never put together one single season that shows me he has the promise to be a 25-30 million player, but we’re going to be paying him that anyway. At least Randle had one all-NBA season in his recent past and a history of being an efficient player before that when we re-signed him, while RJ has, in my eyes, shown nothing yet.

    If LaVine only adds about 5 wins by replacing Barrett, well that is the difference between us now in the 6th seed and the Sixers in the 3rd seed. Isn’t the whole point of this strategy Rose is doing to become progressively better and better, in a gradual manner, instead of swinging big on the draft or trades and hoping to fly over the top?

    Again, obviously I’m talking about a reasonable deal. I was against the Utah trade for Mitchell because the price was obviously unreasonable, and if thr Bulls ask for a similar package of 4 to 5 picks and all the players we simply stop the negotiations right away and move on.

    But at some point if this team is not going to maximize draft picks, or simply not even going to be picking players with them, the talent must be upgraded in some other way.

    Lavine is still a guy who had one elite season, has injury issues and a huge contract. The fact he’s a big upgrade on RJ is more down to RJ sucking than Lavine being awesome. Do you want to give up some picks and take on 180 million dollars in salary obligation for Kyle Kuzma or Buddy Hield?

    At least we’ll get to see him play another 20 games this year and see if he keeps up his high level play.

    ***While RJ is a sunk cost at this point, 1) … 2) … 3) … 4) … 5)… ***

    In your defense of RJ you describe Cam Reddish perfectly, yet nobody seems miss him.

    Bruno, I don’t think you need to have an answer to the question “if not him, then who?” to not trade for “him”, especially at the point where we are right now.

    Unlike some here (one person in particular), I don’t see us as being in abject purgatory. We actually have a very rootable young team exactly as we are! No gimmicks, no sacrificing all of our assets for a Carmelo-level player, just a nice, organically-acquired, cap-friendly collection of talent with a very competitive 9-man rotation with some playable situational players.

    To me, the question is: if not now, then when? And the answer is: when the right opportunity presents itself, which will be within the next months or at most a couple of years. We have just seen a shitload of transactions go down in the past 8 months since draft day 2022, including some involving superstar-level players. If you go back a year, a significant proportion of those deals were not predicted or even predictable. Because of that, I’m not feeling any anxiety for our FO to make a star-level deal before some kind of window on those opportunities closes. We are actually kind of in an excellent position to be picky.

    Maybe I’m higher on IQ and Grimes than you and some others here, but my optimism is bcked up by several “scholarly” articles about how they are better than many think and actually elite by some important measures. IQ is 23! Grimes is 22! They can still get a lot better!

    As to RJ, he is also 22 years old. He has had enough stretches of strong play, including a 2-month stretch this year, where I can talk myself into being patient with him because I know that 22 year olds are still kids. He’s not holding the team back right now unless one really thinks our record would be significantly better if he played less or not at all, and I for one am not buying that. I’m fine with continuing to run him out there, but with a somewhat shorter leash, and let’s see what another offseason of work post-Brunson/JHart can do for him. If we have to cut bait two years from now, I doubt it will cost that much and at least we will know for sure where his ceiling is. At this time, imagining scenarios to move him for a very flawed max player is too rich for my blood.

    As I’ve said previously, there will be a lot of disappointment around the league after this postseason when multiple teams either don’t make the playoffs or unexpectedly lose earlier than anticipated. At this point last year, the Jazz were riding the wave. A few weeks ago the Nets were on a winning streak and looking like a legit title contender. I can think of a whole bunch reasons to keep our powder dry.

    “This kid impacts winning…”

    ..and the QG kid has supposedly been guarding on average the toughest matchups in the league…as a 22 year old!

    You don’t make these guys throw-ins in trades unless it’s for a top-10 level player…not where we are on the win curve. At least that’s the way I see it.

    We could also wait until the 2024 offseason and see what the new CBA brings us. We could make a S&T without sacrificing our draft capital if it seems like players are more likely to change teams under the new agreement.

    I know we’re all sick of waiting for a star to sign with us, but we might actually have a good team. It won’t just be pinning all our hopes on a guy just really loving New York City.

    Apparently Bronny James is turning himself into a real prospect. Maybe that’s how we lure a star here for cheap.

    I love this team Z-Man, it’s the first time I’ve been looking forward actively to games since the playoff run, but my point of view is that precisely because I love this team, I see this is a very important turning point to try to build upon.

    We have assets, young players and good, established productive players in Brunson and Randle, but at the same time we know that this team is not likely to be a contender with this core, for as rootable as they are, they’re lacking in firepower to hang with the truly elite teams in a 7 game series.

    This is the first time in, I don’t even know when, that the Knicks are able to make moves from a position of relative power: we don’t NEED to make a move to be competitive, our core is locked contractually for years still and there’s space for development inside the roster. And that’s precisely why we should be looking into reasonable, cost effective, ways to keep improving this roster.

    Like I’ve said before, LaVine is probably not even the guy to be having this discussion around, as he’s got red flags and is likely to never be cheap enough to be worth the gamble. But I definitely want to see a move in the offseason towards consolidating this progress we’re making right now, because this team might genuinely be one or two relatively big moves away from a conference finals if those moves pay off and players remain productive. If you’re building gradually you have to keep improving, and I don’t think the progress of IQ, Grimes and Barrett is going to be enough to make a significant improvement. I like IQ and Grimes a lot but they top as quality role players for a team that needs more than that, and I don’t have hopes for Barrett.

    1. LaVine is the easiest “NO” imaginable to me

    a. He’s on an unattractive contract
    b. He wouldn’t move the needle enough to matter (if at all)
    c. He’s had a major injury
    d. He has no upside
    e. We need a defender at the wing

    Exactly why would we want to commit team suicide after all this time when we finally put together a good and likable basketball team with further internal upside and some excess assets? That’s how easy this one is for me. IMO, it would be team suicide.

    2. Regarding RJ

    a. We’ve blown quite a few lottery picks in recent years that hurt us badly. RJ’s rate of development has been disappointing also, but it’s too soon to consider him a bust. I think he still has a shot to develop into a very good player.

    b. On the flip side, at his current rate of improvement, he’s very unlikely to become a two-way #1 option and currently he’s the weak link on both sides. So I think trading him has to be on the table if it helps us land a different youngish player that makes sense long term and that makes this team better now too.

    3. IMO (and I’ve said it thousand times already) we need a plus defender at SF that can cover the best wings in the league, be a scoring option beyond just shooting 3s (though he has to be able to shoot 3s), and hopefully still have some upside. If he’s taller/longer than RJ that’s better. Even if that player is not the #1 type option we’ve been dreaming about, I think we should make a move like that if it’s available, including if we have to use up some of our pick assets.

    a. If we use RJ in a deal like that, I’m OK with it for the right player.

    b. If we keep RJ after a deal like that and try him at SG again, I’m fine with that.

    c. If we land a player like that and either Grimes, Hart, or Quick is starting at SG with RJ on the bench, I’m fine with that.

    d. RJ is the weak link. That’s where we have to improve in the offseason. Once that’s done we can see what going to happen at SG. We have contenders like RJ, Grimes, Quick, and Hart that could get better or we could make another move. But that’s the main move to make. We have to upgrade SF.

    I think the rising stars game showed that when Grimes doesn’t have to guard the other team’s best scoring guard he can do well on offense. I suspect his defensive responsibilities on the Knicks affect his offense a bit.

    “after reading this thread the only thing i know for sure i would trade for zach ‘i must be a decent defender because my team is 13th in defensive rating when i play’ lavine is my knickerblogger stock”


    I hate LaVine. I think he might be the most overrated player in the entire NBA. You’d have to give me picks to take him and that salary and I would only do it if I was cleaning house and getting ready to rebuild.

    “I am happy to not talk about Lavine.”

    For me, thinking about him requires Pepto Bismol to be handy.

    I’d be calling the Nets about Mikal or Finney-Smith. Mikal’s price will be commensurate with LaVine’s and he’s a better fit with the rest of the team. DFS will be much cheaper. The Nets have a million wings and would almost certainly part with one of them. And they could actually use RJ’s shot creation.

    “I think the rising stars game showed that when Grimes doesn’t have to guard the other team’s best scoring guard he can do well on offense. I suspect his defensive responsibilities on the Knicks affect his offense a bit.”

    That’s probably some of it, but some of it is that Brunson and Randle are clearly the #1 and #2 options. RJ is kind of a black hole with the ball that often has more shots than our two best scorers. That makes Grimes 4th option. If someone (ahem Thibs) would finally discipline RJ’s shot selection, I think we could get more out of Grimes and we’d be a better team for it.

    “I’d be calling the Nets about Mikal or Finney-Smith. ”

    I don’t know if the Nets would be willing to trade with us. Either of those players would fit, but I’m not sure DFS does quite enough on offense for what we need.

    Definitely pro tinkering at the edges with a DFS trade while keeping our powder largely dry for a guy who puts us over the top.

    Also, don’t look now but we have two elite shot makers in Brunson and Randle, which gives me hope for the playoffs this year. They thrive on taking the kind of shots a playoff defense schemes to for you.I think we’ll be a tough out for any team outside Boston and Milwaukee.

    Grimes has put up some big games when asked to do more. The ceiling on him is higher than a lot of people think.

    DFS is about to turn 30 and has had a down year stat wise…he’s got 3 years left on his deal averaging 13 million per…

    i think he’d be a great Plan B or C target for us to go after this off-season…

    “If you’re building gradually you have to keep improving, and I don’t think the progress of IQ, Grimes and Barrett is going to be enough to make a significant improvement. I like IQ and Grimes a lot but they top as quality role players for a team that needs more than that, and I don’t have hopes for Barrett.”

    This is totally a fair POV, as none of us know for sure how IQ, Grimes and RJ will pan out. I just happen to be more optimistic on their prospects than you, hence I consider them more valuable than you do in terms of critical decision-making. Time will tell, of course, but I am just trying to highlight the amazing advanced-metrics takes on IQ and Grimes in valuing them, and the *good* RJ stretches that possibly indicate a reasonable ceiling when he stabilizes at a more mature level. But I understand the reasoning behind wanting to turn over the assets we have before they depreciate, either by hitting a ceiling or by hitting their next contract.

    And I have more regard for the FO’s process than many here do. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that *reasonable* guys like TNFH were definitively stating that there wasn’t a process at all, yet now he is recalibrating based on new data. I’m not fully in the “trust the process” camp…there have been enough hiccups to warrant healthy skepticism…and some *bad* decisions have been pre-empted by fate, e.g. selling the farm for Spida.

    But the process seems to be at least theoretically grounded in being opportunistic and shrewd rather than rash and cavalier (npi) with our assets cache. And the product on the floor reflects some success with that methodology. So being patient at this critical time is of the utmost importance. Let’s take the risk and see what we really have in these advanced metrics-wrecking assets, rather than taking a risk on a player with a known serious medical issue. That’s pretty much all I’m saying.

    Regarding DFS having a down year, the Knicks have to be willing to take chances on guys with track records. Smart teams buy low. That’s why I’d kick the tires on Barton too. He’s alternated good and bad seasons every year since 2017. Do we assume that he’s suddenly washed up, or is this just his typical yoyoing? For a minimum flyer I’d certainly find out.

    *** Barton [has] alternated good and bad seasons every year since 2017. Do we assume that he’s suddenly washed up, or is this just his typical yoyoing?***

    It only makes sense if his yoyoing is synched with Randle’s yoyoing, but unfortunately they are staggered. Pass.

    While I’m losing faith in RJ turning into a really good player, I’m not ready to dump him for lavine. I’m still willing to be patient with him.

    As for IQ. I think he absolutely has it in him to maybe be an all star caliber player. The progress he has made this season has been phenomenal and he has turned into a really well rounded two way player. And his work ethic seems off the charts. No way I’m including IQ in any trades right now unless it’s a true elite superstar in their prime.

    NBA has been on break so long I almost watched college last night….

    IQ has played pretty well his whole time here. Awareness of how good his defense is has blossomed lately. Maybe it’s leveled up. But he has been like this the whole time basically and I don’t know why we gave RJ the deal we did knowing that.

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